Leon Panetta, who replaced Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense, wants to keep 3,000 to 4,000 troops in Iraq beyond the December 31st deadline for complete withdrawal. [i]
Is this a surprise?
We're told it's just for training purposes. Yeah, right! A few of these "trainers" get killed and then there's the demand to increase the numbers of troops. Any echoes of Viet Nam here?
The war that should never have happened against an enemy that posed no threat, imminent or otherwise, that didn't have WMD and had no connection to 9/11, still requires our presence?
But regardless of the number of actual American troops remaining in Iraq, "the CIA will continue to have a major presence in the country as will security contractors working for the State Department". [ii] Meanwhile "The administration has already drawn up plans for extensive expansion of the American Embassy"bolstered by thousands of paramilitary security contractors." [iii] Does it really matter how many "actual" American military remain in the country? One thing is for sure, we're hardly leaving Iraq any time soon.
Perhaps Colin Powell (the man whose integrity was tossed under the bus with his unseemly, fabricated speech to the U.N. in February, 2003) was right about, "You break it, you own it" (going to war).
Well we certainly "broke it" (Iraq) and in the meantime created a majority Shiite government that's now closely aligned with Iran, supposedly our mortal hated enemy.
Not even Osama bin Laden in his wildest imagination could have dreamt of such a scenario as we created in Iraq.
But Iraq is just one example of America having lost its way. And sadly it hasn't mattered whether a Democrat or a Republican has sat in the Oval Office or which party controls Congress.
Dysfunction, incompetence, representative democracy replaced by a plutocracy of corporate oligarchs, outsized special interest groups, an ideological right leaning SCOTUS et al reign supreme with seeming impunity while the majority of the population remains passively indifferent and acquiescent in the midst of our house on fire.
It all seems surreal.
[i] "Plan Would Keep Small Force in Iraq Past Deadline", by Eric Schmitt and Steven Lee Myers, "The New York Times", September 6, 2011
[ii] See footnote #1
[iii] See footnote #1